Updated: Mar 13
Today marks one-year anniversary of the crackdown on Belarussian students for their nonviolent protests across the country over the re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko. Since the allegedly fraudulent presidential elections in August 2020, thousands of protestors assembled in the streets of Minsk and other major cities, demanding that Lukashenko leave office. Many of the protests were organized by students and took place at university campuses. Belarussian forces arrested a great number of students and student leaders during these demonstrations, including members of the Belarusian Students Association, Maryja Rabkova of European Humanities University, and Yahor Kanetski of Belarusian State University.
Reports describe that riot police and security forces responded with unnecessary violence and mass arrests of protesters.
We urge the Government of Belarus to end these ongoing human rights violations. In particular, we call on the Belarus Government:
o To immediately release all those unlawfully or arbitrarily detained for exercising their rights to freedom of expression
o To respect the right of peaceful assembly, and cease the violent dispersal of peaceful assemblies and judicial retaliation against organizers and participants
o To create an enabling environment for all individuals, human rights defenders, journalists, and lawyers to participate in public affairs and carry out their activities safely and freely
o To ensure that prompt, thorough, independent, transparent, and impartial investigations are conducted into all allegations of torture and other human rights violations, including the deaths of at least four persons in the context of the protests; and to hold perpetrators to account, and provide justice, and reparations to victims and their families;
Endangered Scholars Worldwide (ESW) condemns the brutal treatment of student protesters in Belarus and stands in solidarity with Belarusians in their struggle for freedom and a peaceful transition to democracy. The widespread arrests, trials, and imprisonments of Belarus’s students are particularly appalling.
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